The HR Technology show has grown into the Show that almost can be stated as simply as – It is the place to be. If you have interest or responsibility into HR innovation or HR technology – this is the Must go show of the year. However, the show can turn into a trip to disneyland – and if you don’t watch it – you will have a great time – but never do the rides that you want to. So here are some tips:
1. Know what you need to get out of the show before you go!
Every year I go, I look at my current business needs and the next year’s operational plans, and figure out what three vendors, technologies and/or ideas that I need to tackle. So for instances, last year I needed a Social Media CRM, Global Payroll platform for mid-cap clients, and seeing what was in the market for mid-cap global Applicant Tracking Systems.
2. Schedule Demos ahead of time!
Of the technologies that you need to see, reach out to vendors ahead of time to schedule demo time. Here is my other tip, get demo time with vendors that you most likely won’t see in your area. For instance, if you have a SAP Sales Rep constantly knocking at your door – then don’t use that time at the show. Time is precious.
How to get hold of the vendors to do the demo time? Ping them via Tweeter or LinkedIn – you will find they are very responsive. As they want to make the most of their time too.
3. Pick the right conference seminars:
The quality on these are increasing, but still read the descriptions so you are going to a presentation that you think is a complete overview of HR analytics, and it is really a pitch on a specific vendor platform.
4. Gotta Go to the Top Technology show:
Bill does an amazing job picking vendors with new technologies that will awe you. It is always worth watching.
5. Save some time to walk the floor:
Make sure to walk the floor in order to see who is new in the space. But this is where the prep on Item # 1 is key. You can stop at a booth, ask them if they do X,Y, or Z – and they will quickly tell you yes or no. As they are trying to be efficient too. This is one of those times – when you won’t get the “yes, we can do anything” answer. By doing this, you will probably find one or two firms that have a solution for you – that you didn’t know about.
So for instance last year, I was looking for a Global ATS..So I asked everyone if theirs did true Global (e.g. Multiple country workflow). And folks were great at saying, Yes, No, or coming soon.. So it made the most of my time.
6. Look for innovation – As It Is THERE!
Remember that Technology is only the enabler of HR processes. So at the show, I have seen many new vendors and/or solutions that have innovative solutions – but not due to the technology – but due to how they approached a classic HR problem. Last year, Rypple showed this amazing performance management program that was kind of facebook’ish – but it allowed constant gamification. So instead of a once or twice a year performance conversation – it was constantly happening. Pretty cool stuff.
7. Have Fun!
I am not sure if the HR technology Professionals don’t get out enough or something, but the after hour parties and dinners are always amazing and well done. So be prepared to enjoy your self.
8. The Obvious tips?
Make sure to pack comfortable shoes, extra space in your suitcase for SWAG, and bring lots of business cards. Also dress comfortable – this is business casual at best.
9. Meet Some People!
Also use this time to make the most of your vendor relationships! Often the senior product managers, and senior management are at the shows. What a great time to meet with them, understand where their product lines are headed, and have some great conversations about your relationship.
This is where the HR movers and Shakers are too! Like some of my favority bloggers will be there, along with some great industry Pundits (Like Naomi!).